Sally Hershberger, born in in Wichita, Kansas, is the daughter of an oilcompany executive. Her parents divorced when she was a toddler, and Sally moved to Los Angeles with her mother and two brothers. She was raised in California and began doing hair at eighteen. While still in beauty school, she became an apprentice to Arthur Johns, a well-known Hollywood salon, in the early 1980s.
She also appeared on The Jimmy Fallon Show, and gave a member of the crowd a mohawk. She is rumored to be the inspiration for the character Shane McCutcheon on the television series The L Word . Sally has three successful salons, one in Los Angeles and two in New York City. Her Los Angeles Salon, located on La Cienega Boulevard, was the first to open followed by her New York City uptown location, now co-owned and operated by Sharon Dorram of Sharon Dorram Color. The second New York location is in the heart of the Meatpacking district.
Sally built her hair-salon empire upon the widely copied shag cut that she gave film star Meg Ryan in the 1990s. She is one of a handful of hairstylists who have earned a measure of celebrity over the years, but among those select ranks she is the first woman to achieve such success. With salons in both Los Angeles and New York City, she cuts the hairs of a long list of famous clients.
She went on to work with a number of esteemed fashion photographers, and eventually ventured into photography herself. Her portraits of celebrities appeared on the pages of Vogue and Vanity Fair , while she continued to cut hair in Los Angeles. It was her snips on the famous blonde head of Meg Ryan that launched Sally as an emerging new stylist; she gave Ryan a choppy shag that was actually the emblematic coif for stylish West-Coast lesbians
Sally worked with Frieda in developing his Sheer Blonde and Beach Blonde lines, which became some of the best-selling hair care products on the market when they were launched in the late 1990s. Her first eponymous salon, Sally Hershberger at John Frieda, opened in March of 2000 on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.
The space included an indoor pool and even a waterwall, and she followed it three years later with a second location in New York City's trendy Meatpacking District. It was here that Hershberger introduced her $600 haircut, an amount that surpassed what the top Manhattan hairdressers - Frederic Fekkai and John Barrett among them - were charging at the time by at least $100.
Part of Sally's decision to set her rate so high was to allow her to stay in the salon, which she preferred, rather than on location doing editorial or film-set work, which could net her as much as $4, 500 a day.
In 2005, Sally launched a line of skin-care products, as well as Shagg Downtown, a line of T-shirts and jeans similar to her classic workwear. She was also in the process of writing her own style bible, tentatively titled Shagg , thanks to a contract with Regan Books.
Somewhat of a cult figure as an epitome of casual L.A. chic, Sally was rumored to have been the inspiration for the hairstylist character Shane on the hit Showtime series The L Word about a group of Los Angeles lesbians.
The show's creator and executive producer, Ilene Chaiken, was a longtime friend of hers, but Chaiken claimed there was no truth to the rumor. Sally also dismissed the idea, noting that the Shane character was "not successful and she's kind of a wreck, " she told the New York Times 's Kinetz. "Here's the bottom line: When there's going to be a show, it will be mine."